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A Guide to Changing Transformers

News - 2022-11-11

Today, more than ever, energy efficiency is a subject that is on most people’s minds.

NewsA Guide to Changing Transformers

Today, more than ever, energy efficiency is a subject that is on most people’s minds. As well as the very well-publicised and rapidly escalating costs of gas and electricity there are also obvious environmental concerns too.

So no business or other organisation can overlook any opportunities that may present themselves to invest in what, in the longer term, may both be a significant money-saving measure as well as a “greener” method of operating.

There is also very strong evidence to suggest that there are a great number of transformers still in operation today that date back five decades or more – and many of them must be due for replacement.

Why change a transformer?

To delve a little deeper into the advantages of replacing a transformer there are five key reasons why it could make perfect sense.

1. Improved reliability

In most settings, transformers are essential pieces of equipment so breakdowns should be avoided at all costs. There are many issues that can develop over time including loose connections and degraded oil. Even if these don’t lead to complete breakdowns they can result in excessive noise, cooling issues and reduced power output.

2. No downtime

One thing that no business can afford is an enforced closure due to power failure. Unfortunately, this is always going to be a risk with older transformers – and the chances are that they will also cease to function at an especially critical moment. Then there is a great rush to resolve the situation either through stop-gap repairs or the installation of a new unit. But however great the determination to resolve the issue is, it’s seldom achieved quickly.

3. Cut down maintenance costs.

There are all kinds of tasks that become more necessary, and which need to be carried out more frequently on older transformers. These inevitably have cost implications for a business. So Ju with lighter maintenance requirements could even prove to be a money-saving move.

4. Reduce environmental impact

Load losses aren’t just wasted money, they can have a significant environmental impact too. In fact, the European Commission has estimated that 2.9% of all energy generated across EU27 and the UK is wasted through transformer losses. But by investing in a 2022 Tier 2 transformer you can reduce your own losses greatly, cutting down on CO2 emissions in the process.

5. Cut your energy bills

But the real bottom line is that your energy bills will be lower. How much depends on the choices you make and individual circumstances. But at GBE we should be able to give you an approximate idea of the figures involved and advise you about how to maximise the savings you can anticipate.

Warning signs to look out for

Depending on whether you have a dry-type or oil-filled transformer, there are a number of tell-tale signs that a replacement might be needed sooner rather than later.

In the case of the dry-type these include:

· Excessive noise or even a change in pitch or tone could be a clear indication that there is some kind of problem developing that needs to be checked out.

· Increased vibration over and above what is normal. All transformers do have a certain level of movement but if this becomes more pronounced it could be a sign of component wear which could soon lead to a breakdown.

· Colour changes to the insulation could be a sign that the transformer is starting to run excessively hot. So if it is noticeably darker than before then this could well be the cause.

· Signs of a surge such as coils that have moved position could indicate that internal damage has occurred and that the transformer is already on borrowed time.

Oil-filled transformers have their own set of signs that all might not be right, and these may be:

· Leaks that suggest that a breakdown might be just around the corner.

· Noise and vibration also indicate that all is not well with a transformer, and the latter is likely to make the situation even worse.

· Flaking paint is often taken for granted on old oil-filled transformers but it can be a sign that they are running hot and close to failure.

· Oil colour can become darker when there’s been a surge or other event and if this is noted it could also be worth running a dissolved gas oil test to get a clearer picture of a transformer’s health.

Aspects to consider when replacing

So all the signs are there that you need to replace a transformer before it’s too late – but what do you need to think about before you go ahead?

Obviously, the first thing to consider is which transformer you are going to choose as a replacement. The technology may have changed greatly since the old transformer was installed so it might not be as simple as a like-for-like exchange. That’s why it makes sense to talk to the GBE technical experts who will be able to make the best recommendations.

Then there’s the matter of installation. You will definitely want this to be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is going to mean having a “drop-in” solution with all the connections ready to fit in with the existing transformer infrastructure. Needless to say, it will also need to conform to all safety and other regulations and standards.

Unlike other technology like phones and PCs which have gradually been decreasing in size over time, the opposite is broadly true for transformers which have been increasing in overall footprint. So it is also essential that you have the precise dimensions of the projected replacement to ensure it will fit in the space available.

Finally, while a transformer may seem like a significant investment, it could be that government grants or financing options might be available.

This is just one area that GBE may be able to advise you about. So if you would like any

For more information, or to discuss how we can meet your transformer needs, please just get in touch with us today.